Amy Chester has spent more than 25 years in municipal policy, community engagement, real estate development and communications advocating for the built environment.
As the Managing Director of Rebuild by Design, Chester’s first task was to lead an international design-driven competition that utilized a truly inclusive and collaborative process to create implementable large-scale infrastructure projects to address the physical and social vulnerabilities exposed by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast United States. The process resulted in $930 Million in awards from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement the winning designs, now have over $4.2 Billion of investment. Under her leadership, Rebuild by Design transformed the competition’s collaborative approach into an organization that helps governments and communities replicate its success for a variety of scales in locations around the world to address challenges such as climate change, transportation, housing, community collaboration and equity. Locally, Chester is responsible for the research and strategic direction that led to New York State’s $4 Billion Environmental Bond Act for climate resilience and ecological restoration, as well as founding the NYS Adaptation Practitioners Network for professionals to share best practices.
Previously, Chester worked for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Legislative Affairs and as a Senior Policy Advisor. In these roles she was responsible for the public engagement strategy of PlaNYC, which included initiatives such as the Million Trees Campaign, congestion pricing, and the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. Chester’s other experiences in New York City government have included positions at the New York City Council, where she successfully ensured the inclusion of affordable housing in large-scale neighborhood rezonings, and at the New York City Housing Authority, where she created development plans to build the Harlem Children’s Zone’s school, and to redevelop a block of non-traditional public housing. Outside of government, Chester’s accomplishments include overseeing the development of a medical home for the Freelancers Union, crafting a democratic process which brought together 5000 New Yorkers for a one-day event to determine the future of the World Trade Center Site called Listening to the City, launching the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance through M&R Strategic Services, and working on numerous electoral campaigns including Hillary Clinton’s winning NYS Senate and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
Outside of her responsibilities at Rebuild by Design, Chester is a co-founder of Resilience PAC – created to educate and elect candidates who prioritize climate resilience – and has taught at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. You can read Amy’s published opinion pieces here.